One of the most common bar room debates in sports now is how to fix the NFL extra point – or, more precisely, how to slightly break it so that the PAT becomes less of a formality than a Yao Ming uncontested layup. The idea is to incentivize teams to go for two more often, with the most popular ideas (and most ridiculous) being that whatever player scores a touchdown must then kick the extra point or that the extra point must be kicked from where the previously play was snapped.
Entertaining ideas to talk about – especially with the help of some cold lubrication – but terribly impractical in reality.
With league meetings approaching next week, the Indianapolis Colts have forwarded an idea that appears to actually have some thought behind it.
The Colts proposed adding a BONUS, 1-point, 50-yard field goal attempt for teams who successfully make a 2-pt conversion.
— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) March 18, 2015
Two problems with this idea:
1) The NFL is dead set on the idea of its games fitting neatly into a three-hour, 15-minute television window. The biggest bog in any NFL game is the touchdown/extra point-commercial-kickoff-commercial stretch feels like it takes 30 minutes when watching from home and twice that long in person. Now we’re adding another minute to that eternity, potentially a half-dozen times a game. There’s no way the networks sign off on this.
2) The goal of all these proposals is to incentivize teams to go for two more often, and there’s a sweet spot in there where the possibility of two points becomes great enough for habitually risk-averse NFL coaches to forgo the guarantee of one point. But I’m not sure a 50-yard field goal hits that sweet spot. The average NFL team attempted only 4.8 field goals of longer than 49 yards in 2014 according to ESPN.com. A kick they’re willing to try only once every three games or so isn’t a big enough carrot to give up a free point for a less than 50 percent chance at three points.
I think this rule would get Bill Belichick and a few others to go for two more often, but it’s not enough to get most of the rank-and-file (and those that don’t employ Tom Brady and Stephen Gostkowski) to change their behavior enough to pass the rule.
What say you?